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Contact: Amy H. Smessaert
Communications Director
Congregation of the
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Telephone: (574) 284-5728
Date:October 20, 2009 

Holy Cross Unites on Climate Change:
Joint Statement Calls for Collaborative Action

Montréal, Québec, Canada — Leaders of the four Congregations of Holy Cross sisters, brothers and priests have issued a joint statement on climate change, declaring “Earth and the life it sustains are precious gifts of God” and calling action to safeguard these gifts “a moral responsibility integral to the mission of the Family of Holy Cross.”

The statement commits the four Holy Cross congregations, numbering over 2,800 members around the world, to collaboratively take specific actions to stem the global climate crisis. These actions include fostering an ethos of care for God’s creation, resisting the culture of consumerism, reducing energy consumption, and achieving carbon neutrality in the congregations by 2050.

The congregations’ leaders, commenting on the scope and significance of the statement, noted, “With the Holy Cross family ministering in 19 countries on five continents, we realized the positive impact we could have on climate change by pooling our experience, expertise and energy. By signing a joint statement, we have committed our congregations to work together on specific goals in response to this global crisis. Because climate change especially affects marginalized peoples, our response is a matter of justice and solidarity.”

Holy Cross congregations serve impoverished and vulnerable people, many of whom live in areas already experiencing the impact of climate change, particularly Bangladesh and sections of east and west Africa where droughts, floods, loss of work and population migration are occurring. “Climate change is already destroying Earth’s life-support systems, and endangering human health and security,” the statement reads. “Those least responsible and most affected are poor people and nations.”

The signing of the statement took place at a meeting of the four general councils of Holy Cross, hosted by the Sisters of Holy Cross in Pierrefonds, Québec, Canada, from September 28 to October 1. The four congregations are the Marianites of Holy Cross, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; the Congregation of Holy Cross (priests and brothers), Rome, Italy; the Congregation of the Sisters of Holy Cross, Montréal, Québec, Canada; and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.

The statement was developed by the Holy Cross International Justice Office (HCIJO), which animates and unites the social justice work of the four congregations. By providing educational resources and action opportunities, the HCIJO works to develop a well-informed, unified, public Holy Cross voice able to impact critical justice issues of the times.

According to HCIJO director Sister Mary Turgi, CSC, “This joint commitment of the Holy Cross congregations to address climate change could not be more timely as we enter the final phase of preparations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December (7-18). Every day of inaction brings accelerated climate change. It is imperative that all of us, at all levels of society, take steps now to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advocate for a fair and effective climate deal in Copenhagen.”

See Family of Holy Cross Statement on Climate Change to read the statement in its entirety.

About the Congregations of Holy Cross
The Holy Cross sisters, brothers and priests were founded by Father Basil Anthony Moreau, CSC, who was beatified in Le Mans, France, in 2007. Since their beginnings, the four Holy Cross congregations have grown and spread throughout the world. Their members serve in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America to further the educational and pastoral vision of Father Moreau.

For more information, please visit the following Web sites (Marianites of Holy Cross); (Congregation of Holy Cross); (Sisters of Holy Cross); and (Sisters of the Holy Cross). 

About the Sisters of the Holy Cross
Founded in 1841 in Le Mans, France, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross is an international community of women religious whose generalate is located in Notre Dame, Ind. The congregation numbers approximately 450 members worldwide who serve in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, Uganda and the United States. Sisters of the Holy Cross are called to participate in the prophetic mission of Jesus to witness God’s love for all creation. Their ministries focus on providing education and health care services, eradicating material poverty, ending gender discrimination, and promoting just, mutual relationships among people, countries and the entire Earth community.

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